Baptism. Are We CERTAIN?
I have asked Sunday School teachers, singly and in a meeting. Nobody knew.
I have asked Deacons, in a meeting and otherwise. Again, wrong answers.
Once asked a Professor, from an SBC Seminary. Nope.
A table of preachers at an Executive Board meeting. Again......
I mentioned this, addressing the convention from the floor, in New Orleans. Despite the fact that I may have been somewhat familiar to the messengers, owing to prior episodes of speaking to the assembled convention on several issues, no one offered the answer for the rest of the convention days.
So .. what's the right answer? It's found in the Baptist Faith and Message, which states: A New Testament Church of the Lord Jesus Christ os an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers ..." Yeah ... it's just that simple. Our only consensus statement of faith say that a church is baptized believers.
Further, in the Section of the Baptist Faith and Message which deals with "Baptism and the Lord's Supper", it states: "Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper."
That's a clear statement, to me, yet I simply have not asked anyone who ever knew what our fundamental statement of faith says.
And we don't buy "sprinkling", either, as that's not what baptizo means. Plain and simple. Admittedly, those folks who sprinkle seems to say that it represents something other than death, burial and resurrection; it represents the coming of the Holy Spirit. Only trouble is, that sure doesn't seem to be immersion, or "baptizo".
What really brought me up short this past weekend was a realization ... call it a revelation if you will ... about the day of Pentecost. And about Peter's response to the crowd's question which followed his 3 minute sermon. They asked “Brothers, what must we do?” “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In order:
- Repent ... That means a change of mind, a change of thinking, which produces a change in actions.
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus ... we seem to have that down pat.
- For the forgiveness of your sins.
- You will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Jesus incarnate.
- Jesus crucified.
- Jesus buried.
- Jesus resurrected.
- Jesus ascended.
- The Holy Ghost descended to earth.
- The Holy Ghost indwelling believers.
FIRST BIG QUESTION: What were those people, who were being baptized, thinking was happening by their baptism?
SECOND BIG QUESTION: What were those, who were doing the baptizing, thinking they were doing, when they immersed them; what were they thinking was being accomplished?
As I understand it, the baptizers' reasons and positions on these matters affects whether SBC churches, entities, and the SBC itself recognize one's baptism as valid. Interestingly, it was the IMB flap over that, and unknown tongues, that got me interested in Blogging, and in All Things SBC, over 10 years ago.
Did Jesus actually start building the church .. the ekklesia ... with people who would not qualify for membership in all those entities I just mentioned?
I think He did!
I wonder: are we on the wrong side of that one?